West Fork of the San Jacinto River: Texas Historical Marker
Patiri and other Indians lived here in Archaic and Neo-American periods. When Spanish incursions began in the 1700s, the river was named either for hyacinths or for the saint on whose day it was discovered. Pioneers from the United States settled on the San Jacinto before Stephen F. Austin founded his colony to the west in 1821. Upon their wish to join him, he took this area into his colony in 1824. The San Jacinto won world fame when, beside its lower channel, Mexican Dictator Santa Anna with 1700 troops was defeated on April 21, 1836, by General Sam Houston and Texas volunteers fighting for freedom. Riverside farms became plantations, often shipping cotton by keelboat down the San Jacinto in 1845-61. Until woodlands vanished during the years 1880-1930, sandhill cranes and bear abounded. Reforestation, begun in 1936, brought back timber industries and small game. The lake now makes this a residential and recreational paradise, but covers such landmarks as Grandma Ed'Ards fishing hole, Indian Camp Creek, and the White Sugar Sand Crossing. Downriver, after this fork and the East Fork unite, the San Jacinto forms part of the Houston Ship Channel, the link between Port of Houston, the Gulf, and the high seas.